Ever since I was a young child, I remember books and stories playing a very large part in my life. I had a passion for reading and remember being tucked into bed at night with a large pile of little golden books sitting beside my bed. It didn't matter that I had read them before, I adored the stories and to this day still tenderly remember many of them. I still have many of the books from my childhood and the ones that were lost, I replaced from second hand stores to share the same magic with my own children.
Tonight at bedtime I lay down and read one such book to my Son, Hansel and Gretel - he was keen to read a fairy tale as he has been learning about them at Prep and we chose this one off of our bookshelf. I remember laying in my bed at Nan and Pops place reading this very same Hansel and Gretel, Nan had bought me this book from a book exchange and I loved the illustrations that seemed to bring the book to life.
Other books I share similar feelings about are my Big Book of Christmas also bought by my Nan, I used to read it every Christmas as a child and complete the craft activities in it, unfortunately I lost this book over time and I was fortunate enough to replace it a few years ago at a second hand store. Each Christmas since, I have been able to read the stories to my children and I remember the illustrations so vividly. Coming up to Christmas, it will be taken out and a story read from it, each night.
As I got older I thoroughly enjoyed Enid Blyton books, My Mum had a collection from when she was younger and I purchased new titles to add to this collection and read them often. My favourite was the Famous Five series as I was able to 'get into' the storyline and imagine the adventures they had so clearly. The Faraway Tree, The Wishing Chair and Mr Pinkwhistle I felt similarly about. Both my Stepdaughter and my Son have both been interested in the Enid Blyton range this year, my Stepdaughter has begun to read some of the titles I read as a child and my Son asked me to read some of the 'Bedtime Story' chapter books that Enid Blyton wrote that contained short stories. So nice to relive those amazing stories again too. I have my eye on the Children of Cherrytree Farm next!
My Stepson who is 10 is a massive fan of reading and whilst I have never read any of the titles he enjoys, I think its wonderful - he has been through the 'Captain Underpants' and 'Zac Power' stage and is now onto the Harry Potter and Diary of a Wimpy Kid stage. Anything to encourage him to read! My Brother struggled with reading as a child and Mum would buy him every dinosaur book in the Scholastic Book Club to get him reading! I'm not sure which button to press with my youngest Stepson as he isn't really into reading as yet.. hopefully now he is reading himself, he will start to enjoy reading more. Maybe he will end up like his Father who never finished a book as a child! LOL.
We have quite a large bookshelf and the kids have a large box of books in each of their rooms as well as books on their shelves. I downsized our book collection a few weeks ago, which was something I never thought I would do but I donated 2 roller-storers worth of books to our local lifeline.. Why? I went through our bookshelf when I shifted our room around and set aside the books that the kids had either grown out of or didn't seem that keen on from the beginning. Not books that they had ever been attached to obviously! I have still kept many, many, many books. I usually purchase new books weekly for our children and I have been lucky enough to get many wonderful books from the same Lifeline that I donated the books to, however, they don't always have a lot of children's titles available - I wanted to donate our unused books for other children to enjoy and love! This is the same reason I often give books as presents.
When I pack my teaching bag I always include 3 new books each day, if a class is being particularly unruly we come together and read as a class, sometimes it can be the only time of the day that I have every child's attention, they are mesmerized and so am I!
Reading is truly inspirational.. I might go off to bed to immerse myself in my newest Marian Keyes novel now :)